Knowles, a former Timbers defender, was appointed as an assistant coach on Jan. 26, 2012. He played professionally for seven seasons, including four with Portland from 2007-10. The Auckland, New Zealand, native was originally drafted by Real Salt Lake in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft and played two seasons in MLS.
During his playing career with the Timbers, Knowles was a three-time USL First Division all-league selection and helped Portland claim the Commissioner’s Cup in 2009 as the league’s regular-season champion. He was a finalist for the league’s Defender of the Year award in 2007. In total, Knowles played in 77 games for the Timbers, which ranks among the club’s second-division career leaders. Following the 2008 season, he was voted by fans as the Supporter’s Player of the Year.
In 2007, Knowles led the league in minutes played (2,520) and anchored a backline which allowed the fewest goals (18) in a single season during the Timbers 10 seasons as a second-division side. He also played a key role in the Timbers’ USL First Division record-setting 24-game unbeaten streak in 2009.
Knowles started his professional career in 2005 as a member of Real Salt Lake’s inaugural MLS roster. His playing career also includes time in the North American Soccer League with the Montreal Impact during the 2011 season.
Knowles had a standout collegiate career at the University of Akron, where he was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection. He led the Zips to a pair of conference championships (2002, 2004) and four straight NCAA tournament appearances (2001-04).